October 27, 2005
Small Business Fair coming to Central Library
Central (Multnomah County Library) is hosting Small Business Fair on Saturday, November 5, from 1-4pm.
October 26, 2005
An Online "Intentional Communities" Directory
I was curious to see if there was an online directory of Christian communities somewhere on the web. In fact, there is a Communities Directory which, I have learned, is part of the Intentional Communities website. Who knew? Apparently lots of people not me. ;-)
Here 'tis: Communities Directory: FIC Directory Online
Make Poverty History? Not so much.
Quite a different perspective from the "mainstream" on the efficacy of the Make Poverty History campaign and the role of celebrities in advocating the cause of the poor. Via The Independent (UK):
AlertNet: Darfur is key to resolving multiple conflicts in Sudan
"You have three different crises at the moment," he said. "South Sudan, where peace was established based on the sharing of oil revenues; you have Darfur, and you have eastern Sudan, where the implications are also in relation to the neighbours and the problem between Eritrea and Ethiopia."
"Darfur ... in my opinion is the key for success or failure for Sudan as a whole," he said. "If there is success in Darfur, it will have a positive impact for coordinating a peace agreement in the south and for allowing peace to develop in the east."
The reverse, he warned, would probably produce the opposite result: "If it gets worse in Darfur, it will deteriorate, and even in the south the agreement will be weakened."
Read more at AlertNet. Link: Reuters AlertNet - SUDAN: Darfur situation deteriorating - UNHCR
You may also want to check out the Save Darfur web site. They host an excellent weekly email newsletter that highlights news and information related to the situation and suggests ways for you to take action.
AlertNet: Crisis Profile on Kashmir Conflict
In light of the recent earthquake in Pakistan, here is a great primer on the India-Pakistan conflict over the region of Kashmir and Jammu. Via AlertNet:
October 25, 2005
Steps Back, Steps Forward
I've been out of a blogging mindset lately (if there is such a thing as a "blogging mindset"). Not sure why. Plenty has been going on, so I'll try and do a little catch-up here.
First off, I'm in the midst of mediator training. The City of Beaverton Mayor's Office runs a Dispute Resolution Center. I applied to be a volunteer mediator several months ago and got accepted into the program last month. Right now I'm smack in the middle of 40 hours of training.
Learning how to be a mediator, which requires skills such as active listening, negotiating, bargaining, problem solving, and well of course, mediating, has been very interesting. I am enjoying the training immensely and picture that I will be doing mediation work long into the future.
I've been so convinced of mediation as a vocation for me that I even considered and am still considering whether or not law school is a good path for me to take toward this end of practicing mediation in a private practice context.
In the midst of this question over the past few days, I got my LSAT scores back. They were not good. Just as I suspected that logic games section killed me and I killed it. (Yes, much violence ensued in the stillness and quiet of that Linfield classroom as I shaded answer sheet bubbles in utter despair.) ;)
So I considered carefully my remaining options. Take that ruddy test again, this time learning a strategy that will actually work or call off the whole thing, admit defeat and happily pursue a career as a volunteer mediator. A difficult decision to make.
I made my decision though. Paid and registered for the December LSAT this morning. It's on the day after my 30th birthday, December 3rd. I'm trying not to read too much into that. I also put a deposit down for a weekend prep course taking place toward the end of November. Bought the book Powerscore Logic Games Bible which despite their heavy use of Copperplate font seems to me to be my best chance of defeating the logic games section of the test.
So I'm regrouping and ready to move forward with the law school application process in the hopes that I will be an acceptable candidate to a school not located in Puerto Rico or preparing the next generation of ambulance chasers.
I'd really like to go to India again this year too. I'm a bit surprised to say that I'm missing it. Plus I really want to see my friends over there. I'm thankful for e-mail, but I'd be even more thankful for a plane ticket and a couple weeks to connect face-to-face. Even though the training schedule for the team totally conflicts with my LSAT prep, I'm hoping something can be worked out. We'll see, though.
So that's the update on the personal front. I've got some tales to tell about Ruth and company as well as a few more thoughts on Christian community. (Much thanks to those who commented. Good stuff.) Also I have a virtual stack of newsletters to sift through related to what's happening in the world related to justice and human rights.
I hope you are well as well.
Oh yeah. And I'm gonna be an auntie again! Here's my brother Seth having some fun with the pregancy test:
October 17, 2005
Nieces on the move
From my spontaneous visit last week...
(All links are Quicktime movies)
Good times. =)
House hears testimony on caste-based discrimination, untouchability, and the plight of the Dalits in India
Something VERY interesting happened today (October 6, 2005). The U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations heard testimony from Indian human rights leaders, including Joseph D'Souza, on the situation of the Dalits in India. They testified about the unconstitutional practice of untouchability, situations of blatant disregard of religious freedom, and caste-based discrimination.
I watched most the hearing live on the Web. The video is now posted on the Subcommittee's Web site and I'll include a link to it below as well. Also, the full written testimonies are also online and links are provided in the list below.
Hearing: India's Unfinished Agenda: Equality and Justice for 200 Million Victims of the Caste System
- Index of Hearings: Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations (Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of Representatives)
- Video: India's Unfinished Agenda: Equality and Justice for 200 Million Victims of the Caste System (You will need RealPlayer to view this. It's free forever, you just have to look for the "Get Real Player Free" link (Basic Player not "SuperPass").)
- Testimony: [PDF opens/downloads in separate window] Left Behind: The Importance of Reservation for the Future of the Dalits. (Dr. Udit Raj, National Chairman, All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations & Indian Justice Party.)
- Testimony: [PDF opens/downloads in separate window] The Abolition of Untouchability: The Key to Stability in India. (Dr. Kancha Ilaiah, Professor of Political Science, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India.)
- Testimony: [PDF opens/downloads in separate window] Thrice Oppressed: Caste Violence Against Dalit Women. (Indira Athwale, General Secretary and Maharashtra State President of All India Conference of SC/ST Organizations.)
- Testimony: [PDF opens/downloads in separate window] Joseph D'Souza's Testimony (Joseph D'Souza, President, All India Christian Council; President, Dalit Freedom Network.)
- Testimony: Amnesty International Testimony (T. Kumar, Advocacy Director for Asia & Pacific, Amnesty International USA)
Other links of interest on the Dalits and religious freedom
- Christian Solidarity Worldwide
- Joseph D'Souza's blog (just lauched)
- All India Christian Council
- Dalit Freedom Network
A couple of books that were cited in oral testimonies during the hearing:
- The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions. William G. Bowen, Derek Bok. ISBN: 0691050198.
- Untouchable Citizens: Dalit Movements and Democratization in Tamil Nadu. Hugo Gorringe. ISBN: 0761933239.
Other issues that affect Dalits in India (unbeknownst to the world's leaders in some cases)
Disclaimer: articles found via a quick Google search; I can't vouch for the other content on these web sites, but the articles I link to below I felt were fairly good primers on the topics.
- Human trafficking
- Sex-selective abortion
- Wikipedia entry: Sex-selective abortion and infanticide
- Catholic World News article, September 22, 2005: India Offers Free Education for Girls, To Curb Sex-Selection Abortion
- In India, sex selection gets easier - abortion of female fetuses common in India due to use of ultrasound technology - Brief Article (UNESCO Courier, Sept, 1999)
- India's Top Court Bans Sex-Selection Advertising (October 9, 2002)
It's well worth it to learn about the Dalit movement in India as well as the discriminatory practices that gravely insult the dignity of human beings all around the world. I hope you will take some time to read or to listen to at least one of the resources I listed. You may find yourself learning more about how God feels about injustice and that may draw you nearer to Him, which is a very good thing, wouldn't you agree?
October 04, 2005
Why doesn't Christian community last?
My mom brought up an interesting question during lunch today, "Why hasn't Christian Community lasted?" She raised the question after reading Brant's paper, A Theology of Christian Community in a World of Strangers and noticing my reference to Bartimaeus Community. She noted the ones that seem to survive over generations are either separatist, autocratic—having one person exert control over the community— or living only in the pages of ancient Biblical texts and history books.
Certainly there are lots of groups of Christians and certainly non-Christians living in community based on Christian values, but the question I'm raising here is why isn't it popular? Why isn't it widespread? If it works so well, why isn't "everyone" participating? Why hasn't it caught on? Why doesn't it last beyond a generation? My mom mentioned the story of Ananias and Sapphira. They dropped dead falling short of the standards of Christian community. If that's not a public relations nightmare for Christian Community, I don't know what is.
These are intriguing questions to me, questions that I'm going to leave unanswered for the moment. Instead, I'm going to do a little digging and see if I can piece together some of the stories from past and present of successful and not-so-successful Christian communities. In collecting these case studies, I hope to gain some understanding of how the theory of Christian community plays out in a selection of contexts. Perhaps in examining some cases of Christian community, both good and bad, we can discover a satisfactory answer to this question and move toward Christian community and Kingdom-living that reaches beyond our own sight and our own time, that perhaps even touches upon the eternal Kingdom of God. (After all, isn't that the "immaterial" point?)
Perhaps you are already enjoying and participating in Christian community. What do you think? What about your community works? What elements, values, and practices do you think will last? How do you think your community will look in 10 years? 100 years?
What stories of present and historical Christian community do you know? It would be interesting and much more valuable to make this a collective inquiry. Please, I invite you to participate.
I hope you will join me. And thanks, Mom, for raising the question.
October 03, 2005
I can officially cross "Take the LSAT" off my to-do list. (I get my score in 3 weeks.) Next up: drafting a personal statement, prepping my recomendation letter writers, requesting an official transcript from Biola.
I'm so glad that test is behind me. All the little things that could have gone wrong went very smoothly and I believe I put forward a respectable and diligent effort, so I'm at peace. (We'll see how "at peace" I am when I get my score.)
Winding down after the test on Saturday, I went to see the movie "Serenity" and I enjoyed it thorougly. (Sorry, Shawn, I didn't see "Junebug" yet, but I will. Soon.)
On Sunday, I introduced my mom to the wonderful world of Mac and helped her set up her new-to-her G4 iMac (the "table lamp" model). It's a fine machine and I think it will serve her well. Since M&D moved the home office upstairs to make a little more room for Grandpa when he visits, next weekend I'll set up a wireless network with two wireless routers to cover the entire house with internet connection goodness.
In other news, my lil' bro Brant reported to me on his retreat with his fellow Fuller NW M.Div. peeps. God is working out some amazing things through these men and women. I was blown away by some of the stories he told. One particularly fine idea that I am hoping to someday participate in is a co-housing community in Bremerton, WA called Bartimaeus.
The vision of Bartimaeus Community is to create a safe and welcoming place where people can substantially grow into the whole, healthy, unique persons God intended.
Mmmmm. Community. As my dad remarked to me recently, "Amber, it's time for you to get some new people." It's true, my people have moved on to better places. Maybe my time to move on is coming soon. I think so. (It may very well already be in progress, in fact.)